The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, June 25, 2021 – Metroid, Mogs and MHA

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again — the time when you have the chance to speak your brains, have your say and generally fill our pre-weekend afternoon with your joyful contributions to these illustrious pages.

You can share whatever you want with us on the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. Just click the “Write to Rice!” widget over on the right-hand side of every page and pen us a note. No personal information required — just get stuck in and contribute whatever you want, and you’ll get a response the following Friday.

Ask us questions, share your passions, tell us about an amazing project you’ve been working on — we don’t mind! We just love to hear from you. So make some noise!

On that note, onto this week’s letters:

Metroid who?

Dear Rice,

Since you asked in the Metroidvania recommendations article, some of my favourite games in that genre include Guacamelee 1&2, Rayman Origins and Legends (not strictly a Metroidvania, but they have exploration elements as you obtain more powers), Ori and The Blind Forest and Ori and The Will of The Wisps and Odallus: The Dark Call. At least those are the ones that immediately spring to mind from the last decade or so.

Regards,
Mr0303


Hello again Mr0303, and thanks for your contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. These are some great picks that I don’t think anyone would argue with you about! This genre of gaming has loads of amazing choices to explore — so many that the article you’re referring to could have easily been five times the length without too much difficulty. To save the sanity of our readers — and make our own working day a little more manageable — we decided to keep it to just five for now.

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

Excellent call on the Rayman games. Those are some severely underappreciated titles that more people need to give a chance to. (They’re super-cheap in the Steam sale at the time of writing, by the way.) As you say, they’re not strictly speaking open-structure exploration-based platformers like Metroid, but they do allow you the opportunity to use powers to return to previous stages and find more stuff. Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero works a bit like this, too.

This is a slight digression, but it’s a bit of a shame those Rayman games aren’t perhaps as well-known as they could be; I know a lot of people are keen for Ubisoft to return to the franchise. And while the Mario and Rabbids games are genuinely, surprisingly excellent titles, I know a few people are feeling a bit embittered that the Rabbids — who started as a Rayman spinoff, let’s not forget — can be seen to be “blocking” a new, proper Rayman title.

Proud fan

Dear Rice,

I love mha!!!!!

Kirishima


Hello, Kirishima, thanks for your contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. I’m delighted to hear that you love My Hero Academia, because we’ve covered it a fair bit in these here pages. We’ve talked about the video games, our favourite fights, the best quirks (and the weirdest quirks) and, of course, bunny girl in a leotard.

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

We hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read from us on the subject so far — and I’m sure there’s plenty more to come! Thanks for reading Rice Digital!

Important question

Dear Rice,

Cats or dogs?

InuNeko


Giving nothing away there, huh, InuNeko? Thanks for your contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page, and an invitation to consider an important question that I’m sure has taxed many a great philosopher over the years.

The correct answer is, of course, cats. I say this as a proud owner — or some might argue pet — of two lovely girls who could not be more different in terms of personality if they tried. Meg is a grumpy but affectionate big old saggy catpuss who loves nothing more than napping in the sunshine, or on the bed, or in the sofa in the back room, and occasionally punching our other cat Patti in the face.

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

Patti, meanwhile, is a needy little black cat who wants nothing more than constant, complete attention on her own terms, regardless of what we are doing. That is, except when she wants her alone time, when she disappears to her little hidey-hole under the bed or behind the curtains and keeps quiet. Patti has been known to tap me in the face (usually on the lip or eyelid for maximum discomfort) to wake me up, as well as hanging off the back of my chair while I’m trying to work.

Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs. The bond one can share with a dog is a wonderful thing; my brother has a couple of dogs and they are the most lovely, affectionate beasties you’ll ever know. But I grew up around cats and I’ve always known cats, so for me the correct answer will always be cats.

Also Nekopara is a thing, while Inupara isn’t. That should tell you all you need to know!

Mainstream shmainstream

Dear Rice,

Obviously you tend to cover mostly niche-interest stuff on Rice Digital, but I was wondering if there were any big mainstream titles that have caught your attention in the last few years? And were there any big releases that you just don’t get the appeal of?

Deedz


Hi again Deedz, and thanks for your contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page. You’re absolutely right that our focus is generally on niche-interest stuff — not just ecchi and eroge titles, but things that don’t get much attention generally. Part of the original intention for Rice Digital way back when it was first set up was to give particular attention to doujin titles, for example, which tend not to get a lot of coverage in the games press at all, unless they end up being a breakout hit like Recettear.

That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a big mainstream title now and then, of course. I can’t speak for the rest of the team, but I can certainly say that Nintendo rarely steers me wrong in this regard. It’s a few years old at this point, but Super Mario Odyssey remains one of my favourite big, high-profile games in recent memory; that game did so much right and was filled with so much joy that I could barely pull myself away from it once I started fiddling around with it. I was hoping we might get some sort of new mainline Mario game news at E3, since it’s been a while, but sadly it was not to be.

The Rice Digital Friday Letters Page

As for disappointing mainstream stuff… personally speaking I generally have a good eye for things I know I’m not going to enjoy, so I tend simply not to pick up titles that I know I’ll bounce off. However, I was fortunate enough to win an Amazon giveaway a few years back (prior to my time at Rice) and score myself a second PS4 and a copy of Horizon: Zero Dawn. Horizon: Zero Dawn was not a game I really had much intention of picking up, but since I’d got myself a freebie, I thought I’d give it a chance… and I kinda hated it.

Sure, it looked lovely and it was a perfectly competent example of an open-world game, but I just could not get along with Aloy as the main character. I think part of this was that her voice actress was the same one as Chloe from Life is Strange, and I absolutely detested Chloe in Life is Strange, which didn’t help matters. I also just didn’t like Aloy as a character, though. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

Aside from that, I just found myself struggling to care about the gameplay; it felt like just another “clean up all the marks on the map” open world game in those initial hours, so it failed to grab me early enough to see if it “got good” later. And without the draw of a main character I felt a personal connection with, I unfortunately didn’t feel compelled to explore it further.

The immediate future

Dear Rice,

What’s the next game you’re looking forward to playing?

PatchouliFan


Hi PatchouliFan, and thanks for your contribution to the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page! There’s lots of stuff I’m keen to play as well as an astronomical backlog on my shelves, so I’ll answer this from the perspective of the next game that’s coming out that I’m looking forward to playing.

The answer there is undoubtedly Mario Golf. I’ve always been a huge, huge fan of this series since the N64 version, and I’m really looking forward to a brand new installment for the Switch. As someone who’s not a huge fan of either sports in general or sports games, I’ve always been pleasantly surprised how enjoyable golf games are — particularly if they adopt a cartoony, arcadey style to them. Whether it’s Tee Off on the Dreamcast, the various Mario Golf games over the years or Everybody’s Golf on Sony platforms, I have a lot of time for virtual golf.

In terms of Mario Golf specifically, I’m looking forward to exploring the Adventure mode. Some early reviews have said it’s not all that, but if it’s like the one in Mario Tennis Aces I’m looking forward to some creative use of the golfing mechanics in rather unexpected situations. Assuming I get some solid time with it over the weekend, expect some impressions early next week.


And that’s all for this week! Thank you as always for your contributions if you’re in the mix above, and if you’d like to be part of next week’s mailbag be sure to get your letters in at your earliest convenience. We read and respond to absolutely every submission, so get writing and we look forward to hearing from you very soon!

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